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Black History Month: Meet Alexandria Montague, activist of the future

'Not only am I black, I’m a Hamiltonian. I’m a Canadian. I’m a woman. I’m so many other things that I identify myself as,' says Alexandria Montague, a young activist in the city.
Alexandria Montague is a community activist and Grade 11 student at Sir Thomas More secondary in Hamilton. (John Rieti/CBC)

Alexandria Montague is a young black community activist — but don’t get hung up on her race.

"Not only am I black, I’m a Hamiltonian. I’m a Canadian. I’m a woman. I’m so many other things that I identify myself as," Montague said.

What the 16-year-old Sir Thomas More student wants is for you to get to know her as an individual by going beyond any preconceptions you might have.

"I believe that a lot of people see the skin colour as a generalization of who that person might be instead of taking the time to get to know that person on a one-on-one basis," Montague said.

"People just need to take the time to understand other people."

The person you’ll meet is remarkable. At school, she’s part of a social justice club called Utopia and also a photographer for the yearbook. Outside of class, she’s started a charity called Sisters 4 Sisters with her older sister, Ashleigh.

Montague says Sisters 4 Sisters first event will be a brunch fundraiser on March 21 to raise money for the Native Women’s Centre.

When asked why she chose to raise money for the group, Montague is quick to cite Lincoln Alexander's goal — one she said she strives to live her life by — of standing up for all victims of injustice. 

That compassion and confidence has impressed teachers and community leaders alike.

Hamilton organizer Evelyn Myrie calls her a "firebrand" and a young woman to watch in the coming years.

Sharon Boase, the Sir Thomas More's chaplain who was present for the interview, tells Montague she’d make a tremendous journalist or politician in the future.

For now, she’s still a student focused on her classes before heading off to university (she’s set on Ryerson).

Throughout Black History Month, CBC Hamilton is producing a series of portraits of people in the city’s black community and asking them what black history month means to them. An audio clip you can listen to using the player above will accompany each photograph.

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